Hermetic Secrets at the Manitoba Legislative Building

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Hermetic Secrets Tour at the Manitoba Legislative Building
The Hermetic Code Tour explores numerological codes and Freemasonic symbols in the Manitoba Legislative Building

A temple masquerading as a government building? That is what Dr. Frank Albo says about the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I and about 50 other people are here to take the Hermetic Code Tour. Dr. Albo is about to show us how the building is a modern reconstruction of King Solomon’s temple and contains secrets of Freemasonry “hidden in plain view.”

The Manitoba Legislative Building houses the provincial legislative assembly, its committees and staff, as well as offices for government ministers and deputy ministers. Frank Worthington Simon was chosen as the architecture for the the current building as the result of an architectural competition in 1911. Excavation began in 1913. Shortage of materials, labour and funds during the First Word War slowed construction. The building was ready for partial occupancy in 1919 and had its opening ceremonies in July, 1920. The exterior walls are Tyndall Stone, quarried at Garson, about 20 kilometres north of Winnipeg. The building is impressive on its own but takes on a whole other dimension with Dr. Albo’s interpretation.

A carved sphinx atop the Tyndall stone Manitoba Legislative Building
One of two sphinxes atop the Manitoba Legislative Building

Dr. Albo is an architectural historian with degrees in ancient Near Eastern languages, Western esotericism and the history of art. In 2001, while driving down Memorial Boulevard and looking at the Legislative Building, he noticed two sphinxes. His question about what the sphinxes were doing there led to years of research, first for his thesis and later under government-funded research grants. The book The Hermetic Code chronicles his search and findings.

Bison on either side of the Tyndall stone Grand Staircase at the Manitoba Legislative Building
Grand Staircase

We wait in front of the grand staircase for the tour to begin. Plans to start the tour outside are interrupted by a downpour. Instead we sit on the stairway and listen to Dr. Albo. Ancient temples had two large horned bulls guarding the entrance. On either side of the grand staircase sit bison, the symbol of Manitoba. Dr. Albo tells us that architect Frank Worthington Simon was a member of the Freemasons, a secret society which believed architecture “had the capacity to reform the soul.” On one of the sphinxes he discovered the name of an ancient Pharaoh, Thutmose III, believed by some to the founder of Freemasonry. Dr. Albo says we will find symbols of freemasonry “hidden in plain sight”, symbols involving geometry, astrology and alchemy.

Dr. Albo also tells us the numbers 5, 8 and 13 are prevalent in the building. They are part of the Fibonacci sequence, in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers in the sequence. As you progress through the sequence, the ratio of two successive numbers approaches the golden ratio, a special number equal to approximately 1.618. The golden ratio is frequently found in art and architecture, and appears in the Parthenon and the Pyramids. The grand staircase had three flights of 13 steps each. The bison are 13 feet long. There are 13 lights in each hallway. The number 666 also appears throughout the building. Although we now associate that number with the devil, Dr. Albo says it does not mean that in the Hermetic Code. It is associated with the sun.

Stone lions on the wall of the Manitoba Legislative Building
Statues of lions on surrounding walls
Carved figure of Medusa in recessed wall area at the Manitoba Legislative Building
Figure of Medusa on wall behind staircase
Carved pediment on the Manitoba Legislative Building
Pediment on the outside of the building

The rain stops and we head outside. Dr. Albo asks us to look up at the pediment above the columns at the front entrance. According to the official government description, the scene symbolizes the ideals of nationhood and embraces all of Canada. The female figure in the centre represents Manitoba. According to Dr. Albo, she is the goddess of this temple.

Gold Boy statue of Hermes atop the Manitoba Legislative Building
Golden Boy statue on top of the building

The Golden Boy atop the Manitoba Legislative Building is a familiar Winnipeg landmark. The boy is actually the Greek god Hermes, the father of occult philosophy and patron of the Freemasons. Hermes acts as the messenger between the gods and mortals. The Golden Boy is a nickname given by a journalist many years ago and the name stuck. The statue is cast in bronze and was gilded in 1951. Around the base of the dome are statues representing agriculture, art, industry and science according to the government description or earth, water, fire and air according to Dr. Albo.

The blue and gold painted interior dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building
Inside ceiling of dome. The dome is open to all three floors below.

Under the dome, on the main floor, is a black eight-pointed star set into the marble. The circular area around the star has special acoustics. Normal speaking echoes throughout the building. Whispers spoken while standing at the centre of the star can be heard by all the people around you.

Painting commemorating Manitoba's sacrifice in the Great War
If you look closely at this painting commemorating Manitoba’s sacrifice in the Great War, you’ll see a soldier carrying the wounded Christ and a Madonna with a child
Lieutenant-Governor's Reception Room at the Manitoba Legislative Building has dark wood paneling, blue carpet, and desk as the focal point
Lieutenant-Governor’s Reception is open to the public once a year for the New Year’s Day LeveĂ©. Dr. Albo equates this room, which has the same measurements as the inner sanctum of King Solomon’s temple, to the holiest of holy rooms in a temple.
Guide talking to tour group on the steps to the Manitoba Legislative Building
Dr Albo talking to our group

Dr. Albo is an enthusiastic guide. Although he has given this tour numerous times over several years, he seems as excited to share the building’s secrets as if this were the first time he revealed them. He talks about how he discovered the secrets, time spent measuring every inch of the building, being stopped by security guards in the middle of the night when he was inspecting a statue on the grounds in his pyjamas and joining the Freemasons himself in order to understand the building. I feel a little overwhelmed at the amount of information he provides.

Black and white marble floor of the Manitoba Legislative Building
Black and white marble floors

The Manitoba Legislative Building is a fascinating building to explore whether or not you accept Dr. Frank Albo’s interpretations. I’ve been in the building many times – for other tours, showing visiting friends and attending concerts or Christmas celebrations. During my university days, I had a summer job with one of the government departments in the basement. I will be looking at the building with different eyes in future visits.

Note that for 2024 there are no scheduled public hermetic code tours because of restrictions at the Manitoba Legislative Building. It may be possible to schedule private tours for groups of 15 to 25 people. See Heartland International Travel & Tours Hermetic Code Tour. Note that Dr. Albo no longer leads the tours because he no longer lives in Winnipeg. The owner of the tour company, who conducted the tours jointly with Dr. Albo for years, now leads the tours.

You can, however, take a more generalized tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building and see its many decorations, symbols, and fascinating features. See the visiting information on the Manitoba Legislative Building website.


The Hermetic Code Tour explores numerological codes and Freemasonic symbols in the impressive Manitoba Legislative Building #Winnipeg #Manitoba #Canada #architecture

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  1. Completely fascinating! Beautiful building and to think you have your own DaVinci code right there. Obviously, Dr. Albo is passionate about this…what a great tour guide to have!

  2. Freemason codes. Donna, why don’t you write a “Dan Brown” thriller based on it? If you promote it the right way even if it’s an ebook you could easily become a millionaire and make sure your old age is everything you ever dreamed of.

  3. This is so uncanny Donna. When we went to Italy with my son and his family earlier this year, he brought the book along – Hermes: The Hermetica! Sounds like some of what your guide told you and what is in the book are similar. Secrets no more!

  4. This is fascinating. Donna, you tell this story so well that you totally kept me enthralled right to the end. What a gorgeous building but that fact takes second place to the information you provided. I wonder what F.W. Simon was thinking when he designed the building – was he trying to put something over on everybody or was he such a devoted Freemason that he just took advantage of the opportunity presented. No matter what, it makes the building seem that much more wonderful.

  5. Hi Donna, I took this same tour a couple of years ago, and like you, I too was fascinated by what I learned.
    It’s amazing what we can learn about our own hometowns, if we take the time to do so, as you have pointed out in your various writings about Winnipeg. Always enjoy your posts.

    1. Thanks Eva. I’d read bits and pieces about Dr. Albo’s findings and wondered if I’d find the tour interesting because I did know some of the story. I didn’t know everything he covered and even the parts that were familiar were still fascinating. I love exploring my hometown.

  6. Fantastic post, Donna! We have the book, but I have never taken Frank Albo’s tour. Your photos are terrific. Thx for sharing this info here. Did you know that the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli currently has an exhibit on the Secrets of Masonry? You might enjoy it.

  7. As usual your photos were wonderful. They draw you. I was impressed with the Canadian architecture and this was so beautiful. Dr. Albo made the tour interesting and kept your interest. Would have been the same if one just looked at the building inside on their own? I doubt it.

    1. Thanks Arleen. I suppose one could go through the building on one’s own with the book as a guide, but you’re right – I don’t think it would be the same.

  8. I’ve never heard of the numerical sequence 666 having anything to do with he sun. Very interesting. I love learning the history of older buildings and this is definitely a fascinating spin on history.

  9. A number of years ago I narrated a number of books about “Secret Societies” for Audible and all of them discussed The Freemasons as part of the occult. In fact, they said these societies actually own the most powerful people not only in government but entertainment, banking, and business They tied them all to the “Illuminate”. I don’t know about all of that. It does seem that historical bulidings were works of art and were designed to make statements or represent popular belief systems and values.

    1. Pamela, the books sound interesting. There is a lot of information about the Freemasons and secret societies out there – I don’t know how much of it is true. I think you’re right about historical buildings being designed with meaning.

  10. This is fascinating Donna. I don’t remember ever hearing so much meaning being ascribed to a modern-era government building of any type. Nor do I remember ever hearing of someone with a degree in esotericism. I can barely even spell it.

  11. Wow how interesting Donna! I’ve seen this building but only from a distance. I really am amazed at how people can pick out such details and form theories around them. I’ve always enjoyed learning about history, but I’m afraid the complexity of most secret societies and conspiracy theories fly right over my head. 🙂

    1. There are a lot of complexities in the interpretation of the building, with every small detail being ascribed significance. Was that really the intent or is it just how someone has chosen to interpret it now? I’m not sure – but it is very interesting.

  12. We hear about these secret masonic symbols all over the place. These so called “conspiracy historians” prey upon peoples misunderstanding of the past.
    You must remember that these masonic symbols were also symbols used by everyone. Go back in time when most people could not read or write. Even though they were never taught letters, they were taught symbols. So when we built buildings, those symbols were engraved into them. This has carried on as a type of architecture.
    I can imagine 1,000 years ago, when our ancestors dig up our buildings, they will find a silhouette on a bathroom door, and think it is a secret masonic symbol.

    1. William, I too sometimes wonder how historians in the future will interpret the relics of our times. Accurate or not, I find it fascinating to hear how some people attribute meanings to the symbols of the past.

  13. Wonderful guided tour, Donna! I feel like I took a wee bit of a trip this morning and I’m still in my p.j.s! I love hearing the behind the scenes stories of buildings and their creation, so would totally be up for this tour. If I ever make it to Manitoba…

  14. Loved this post, Donna and your photos were gorgeous – I felt like I was on the tour with you! It’s amazing how a great tour guide will give you a totally different understanding of a place and point out things that an uninformed person just notices in passing. I’d love to see this building but this post also reminds me that I need to be more observant of other grand and noble buildings as well! Anita

    1. Anita, it is a good reminder to pay more attention to the details of architecture. Glad you enjoyed the photos. It is a beautiful building, whether you believe Dr. Albo’s interpretation or not.

  15. Donna — thanks for the tour of this beautiful building. Government buildings of old were beautifully designed, almost cathedral like. Today, they are square boxes with no charm at all. I hadn’t heard of the Fibonacci sequence. Always something new to learn.

    1. Karen, the building is impressive whether you are convinced by Dr. Albo’s arguments or not. His tour certainly made me look more closely at features of the building.

  16. What a cool tour. It’s life imitating ‘art’ as I recall the National Treasure movies. The times are very different today than the zeitgeist of America when the building was erected.

    1. Elaine, it is a pretty cool tour. I haven’t seen the National Treasure movies, but I get the similarity after reading the description of the movies.

  17. As a former Winnipegger I’m especially fascinated by this post as I often wondered about the mysteries of the Manitoba Legislative Building when I grew up. I seem to remember the King Tut exhibit being held in its interior which added even more fuel to its mystique. The Hermetic Code tour sounds like a great way to explore the hidden depths of this intriguing building!

    1. Michele, the tour was a great way to explore the building. There are also more conventional tours of the building available too.

  18. I love just about any tour led by a passionate guide…they can be great storytellers and advocates for a point of view! It is easy to see how you could be overwhelmed by all the detail, but a hermetic tour sounds pretty cool.

    1. Anita, I agree that a passionate guide makes a tour great. I was surprised at how excited Dr. Albo still was about the building after all the tours he’s given.

    1. Paula, it’s interesting that you used to teach Thutmose 111. From what I’ve read and what I remember from the tour, Dr. Albo believes he is on the Manitoba Legislature because some consider him the founder of one of the first secret societies and true founder of freemasonry, although the organization of freemasons dates only to the 14th century.

    1. It makes one wonder about secrets in other buildings and whether we are interpreting them correctly or not.

  19. You did it again (after being absent for a week!)! This is such a comprehensive talk about an interesting perspective of a building. I wonder if legislative buildings in other provinces or states also have this inspiration in their architecture?

    1. Carol, it would be interesting to see if this inspiration applies to other legislative buildings. I think more meaning was often incorporated into buildings in the past.

  20. What a fascinating tour Donna and led by such a knowledgeable gentlemean. The relationshiop with the numbers has always fascinated me especially when it dates back to so long ago. Fancy the same ratio appearing in two both the Parthenon and the Pyramids.

  21. Goosebumps. I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. Many of the “founding fathers” who wrote our Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were Freemasons and many of our colonial era buildings also have Freemason secret symbols.

    1. Suzanne, it’s interesting to hear about the Freemason secret symbols in Philadelphia’s colonial era buildings. I wonder how many other buildings in North America contain the symbols.